25 Days of Memories, Day 8

(Me with then Captain Beverly Lawrence, circa 1996…this was a little before the following incident:)

So in 5th grade, I was friends with a girl name LaKeisha.  As you may have guessed, LaKeisha was black.  Not sure yet if that’s an important part of the story…

At any rate, I realized after a few months of school that she lived in the same apartment complex that a lot of the kids from the Corps came from.  I think I even got her to come to church one Sunday.  I think that’s one of the reasons I liked her…she connected my two seemingly separate worlds.  She was in class with me, and I’d also see her every now and again at church.  Worlds were colliding, and for a fifth grader, that’s pretty cool.

So I would ask her to come to my house a lot because I was so excited to share my life with someone who had seen me at church and school.  But LaKeisha wasn’t that thrilled with me.  Every time I wanted to hang out, she would always have an excuse…  One time I wanted her to come over after church but she said she couldn’t because she had a dentist’s appointment.  Of course to my 10-year self, having a dentist’s appointment on a Sunday made perfect sense.  It was only after my mom broke it down for me that I realized LaKeisha was blowing me off.

But it’s all good, I just carried on with her at school like nothing was really the matter.  I mean, after all, it’s not like I can make the girl hang out with me.  But then something happened that changed our relationship forever—sort of put the nail in the proverbial coffin of our friendship.  Let me lay it out for you:

5th grade was an exciting year.  Our teacher was Mr. Wise—who reminded me oddly enough of Matt Lauer.  Anyhoo, one day we had someone come into our classroom to dissect a shark for us.  So we gathered around the shark and were able to touch different parts of the body.  Then afterwards we all lined up to wash our hands.  Except, I hate washing my hands any day of the week, and the line was especially long, so I just sat back down.

Fast-forward to lunchtime.  A girl in the lunch line asked me what the rib sandwich looked like because she was considering getting it.  I didn’t know, but it didn’t matter because we both decided on a different lunch option. Enter LaKeisha who chose a seat next to me.  She had gotten the rib sandwich and placed her tray at her seat and then left to get a milk.  I looked over at the sandwich and was so excited to tell my friend, “Hey, that’s what the rib sandwich looks like.” I proceeded to pick up LaKeisha’s bun with my bare hands and that was that.  LaKeisha came over and freaked over me touching her food.  I mean, I guess I knew you shouldn’t do that, but I didn’t know it got you such hateful looks.  LaKeisha was mortified.  The only way to talk her down was to lie to her.  “LaKeisha, I washed my hands…didn’t you see me? Everyone washed their hands.” Lies!  All lies!  “No, I didn’t see you wash your hands!”

Luckily for me, my lie convinced a few at the table and they started pleading with her as well… “Yeah, she did wash her hands, I saw her!”  I’ll tell you, I never felt so guilty over a lie before.  I never did have the guts to invite her over to my house again, and our friendship sort of fizzled out.  I can’t even remember talking to her again after that.  LaKeisha…if you’re reading my blog…I’m sorry, girl! I’ll never touch your food again!

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